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New Computer Needed in UK


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#1
Channeal

Channeal

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I think our Dell Dimension 9150 computer has finally given up the ghost after 14 years of trusty service! (The only light that comes on is an orange one on the button which turns the power on - and the fan whirs away incredibly loudly). 

 
My thoughts are turning towards buying a new computer, but am not sure what to look for in a new one. Can anyone help me, please? 
 
The following things are most important to me: - 
 
1. Audio. 
 
I have got quite a big digital music collection. The sound on the old Dell was good and it came with six little speakers - a kind of surround sound effect, I suppose. Do they still make computers with those speakers, or can I get them as an add-on? 
 
What do I specifically look for in a new computer to ensure good sound? 
 
2. Storage Space. 
 
I want quite a bit of storage space, although I think I am probably right in saying most modern hard drives provide a lot of space anyway compared to my old model. With more space and a more modern computer, in the future I may well experiment a bit with different Linux distros, maybe in a virtual machine. 
 
I play one Facebook game which currently struggles a bit on my old laptop (the only computer I can use at the moment). It is possible I may play more games in the future though. 
 
The Dell came with two hard drives - something I have found very useful, with my data on one and the operating system on the other. I suppose you can't buy a computer with two hard drives these days? 
 
I don't know anything at all about SSDs as opposed to the usual hard drives. 
 
If anyone can help me with my purchase, it will be much appreciated.
 
:wave:
 


 

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#2
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

Your best option imo would be to purchase something that you can use now at a lower price and then add a couple of upgrades yourself in the future.

 

An example here I would recommend an immediate RAM upgrade though, either a second 4GB to give you 8GB which would be plenty for your intended use or two 8GB sticks if you want to push the boat out.

 

A good quality external speaker arrangement will be required but the onboard audio chip is all you need in that department.

 

Couple of pointers on purchasing anything preassembled;

 

DVD/CD drives are no longer fitted as standard on all computers.

 

Avoid any type of desktop that only has a notebook type power supply, they are basically a notebook MB in a desktop and have very little to no upgrade path.

 

When asking for a RAM upgrade, stipulate that you require two sticks of RAM so that it will work in dual channel mode and not a single stick that will only work in single channel mode and therefore 50% of the performance that the RAM is capable of, well known name system builders short change people all the time by using say a single 8GB stick as opposed to two 4GB sticks because the single 8GB stick is cheaper for them to purchase, they save a few pence and the customer takes the hit in the process  :ranting:


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#3
Channeal

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Hello Phill,

 

 

Your best option imo would be to purchase something that you can use now at a lower price and then add a couple of upgrades yourself in the future.

 

An example here

 

Thanks very much for the link. I also looked at an HP page for the computer in your link at https://support.hp.c...ument/c06681791

 

Here are the points I have been pondering the past couple of days.

 

 

USB PORTS.

 

I am wondering about these.

 

The Currys page says that there are 4 USB 3.1 ports and 2 USB 2.0 ports

The HP page only mentions the 4 USB 3.1 ports, plus 1 headphone/microphone combo.

I am not sure which of the above is correct.

 

On the old Dell, I had 2 USB ports at the front and 5 at the back. 4 of the ones at the back were in use for the mouse, printer, keyboard and my external hard drive. The two at the front are used for the DVD player when in use, or to plug my phone in. If there are only 4 (which is all you can see in the picture) it doesn’t seem many. (I have so far been unable to find a picture of the rear of the machine to see what exactly is there)

 

Do you happen to know if 4 is the usual number of USB ports provided these days? Also, is it normal to have so many of them at the front? (I am thinking how untidy it would look with all the wires hanging down at the front!)

 

 

RAM

 

 

I would recommend an immediate RAM upgrade though, either a second 4GB to give you 8GB which would be plenty for your intended use or two 8GB sticks if you want to push the boat out.

 

When asking for a RAM upgrade, stipulate that you require two sticks of RAM so that it will work in dual channel mode and not a single stick that will only work in single channel mode and therefore 50% of the performance that the RAM is capable of, well known name system builders short change people all the time by using say a single 8GB stick as opposed to two 4GB sticks because the single 8GB stick is cheaper for them to purchase, they save a few pence and the customer takes the hit in the process

 

Yes, I would definitely want a RAM upgrade. I have had experience in the past of not having enough RAM, plus this is also currently a problem on my laptop as one of the actual slots that the RAM goes into no longer works.

 

When you say ‘When asking for a RAM upgrade’, I am a bit confused. Who do I ask for an upgrade? And who are the ‘well known name system builders’? (Sorry, I must seem appallingly ignorant on these matters to you!)

 

 

AUDIO

 

 

A good quality external speaker arrangement will be required but the onboard audio chip is all you need in that department.

 

I will need to buy speakers immediately, as from memory I do not think my monitor (which was purchased in 2014) has any internal speakers.

I assume that my current speakers could not be used on a new computer? I have got a little mini-tower thing that I think (though could well be wrong) is called a Super Woofer. The lead that goes from there ends in 3 wires which fit into special colour-coded audio jacks on the back of the computer.

 

 

DVD/CD PLAYER

 

 

DVD/CD drives are no longer fitted as standard on all computers

 

Yes, I am aware of that. The DVD drive on the Dell died a while ago, so I am using an external DVD drive anyway and will continue using that.

 

 

MONITOR or WEBCAM?

 

One of the things I was most looking forward to about the prospect of having a new computer is the fact that I stupidly thought that I would automatically be able to use Zoom with it. We are currently using my Sony Vaio laptop to access Zoom for a singing group which I used to attend in real life, but which due to Covid is now online. We have been stuck at home since the virus started due to my husband having to shield because of his health problems and the singing group is helping to keep me at least a tiny bit sane! :D

 

It has dawned on me now though that even with a nice new computer, I would probably not be able to access Zoom without either an external webcam or a new monitor which has an inbuilt camera. Do you know much about cameras?

 

POWER SUPPLY

 

 

Avoid any type of desktop that only has a notebook type power supply, they are basically a notebook MB in a desktop and have very little to no upgrade path.

 

But what would a computer with a notebook type power supply actually say in the gumph if I was looking at other computers online?

 

Can you recommend any other sites I could look at computers on, aside from Currys?

 

 

Thanks so much helping me with this.  I apologise once again for being so ignorant; it is many years since I even went into a computer shop!

 

Chris.


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#4
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

Click on the Motherboard specifications link at your HP link and you will see that it says that the MB has (2) USB 2.0 Type-A ports.

 

It depends on from whom you purchase any new PC as to who you ask to upgrade the RAM for you, you could no doubt do it yourself.

 

Was aware about you having an external USB optical drive and the info was for the benefit of others that may read your thread looking for tips for themselves.

 

The present speakers should be fine, standard PC audio jacks are typically blue, green and pink.

 

Regarding the power supply, glad you mentioned it as the info at Currys/PC World is misleading as it lists amongst the Box contents info "Power cord" this suggested to me that there is an internal PSU and that the power cord was the kettle lead type, your HP link however says Power Supply Type 65 W Smart AC power adapter which is what was mentioned to avoid.

 

Avoid any type of desktop that only has a notebook type power supply, they are basically a notebook MB in a desktop and have very little to no upgrade path.

 

 

Never had a webcam but believe that the USB type are easy to set up and use.

 

You have a look around and see what you find then ask us to take a look and give you a second opinion.

 

You are welcome  :)


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#5
Channeal

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Hello Phill,

 

Thanks for your reply.

 

I got myself very confused about the notebook power supply as I didn't realise you were talking about the black AC adaptor that is part of the lead from the power supply to a notebook. Silly me!!!! Is there anything to look out for in the specs of a computer on sale which would specifcally confirm that this is not the case.

 

This is proving much more difficult than I thought it would be! I thought there would be hundreds of computers available to choose from, but it is not so easy! I feel very inadequate! :(

 

Can you please take a look at the Acer Aspire at https://www.argos.co.uk/product/8809227 and https://www.amazon.c...WBRDVTB1M6FKWP?

 

Is the power supply okay on this model? How do I know if there are two sticks of RAM or only one? (The Amazon page says something about it not being possible to have more than 8GB of RAM)

 

Amazon also mentions this: 'HD 5.1 Surround Sound HD 5.1 surround sound uses five full bandwidth channels and one low-frequency effects channel and is also the standard surround sound audio component of digital broadcast and music.'

 

The tower seems small, but I guess they are all small these days. I got confused (yet again!) by seeing an Acer Aspire XC-830 described elsewhere in the heading as 'mini'. (I wasn't sure if this was exactly the same model as in my links, or not)

 

What I mentioned about wanting the USB ports to be mainly at the back, that is an important consideration. We have a built-in computer desk: most of the leads are fed through the desk and the power supply is under it at the back. The Argos page for the Acer includes a picture of the rear of the machine which clearly shows that most of the USB ports, audio jacks etc are at the back, so it would be ideal from that aspect.

 

Any thoughts on this model, please?

 

I guess I just have to take this slowly and try not to panic! :lol:

 

Bye for now,

 

Chris.


Edited by Channeal, 12 November 2020 - 12:03 PM.

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#6
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

Argos link not working I`m afraid.

 

Acer computer is a definite no no, has the notebook type MB that was mentioned previously, noticed this when I checked it out for any possible RAM upgrade, only has the one memory slot which means two things, 8GB of RAM is the max which means that it will only work in single channel mode at 1066MHz and not at the 2133MHz as advertised.

 

Will leave the other points as the Acer is definitely not for you.

 

Off for a bite to eat but will have look online when I get back.

 

Edit to add: Forgot to include the Crucial link which shows that the Acer MB uses notebook type RAM etc, see info here

 

Second edit: This one on Amazon is worth checking.


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#7
123Runner

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Just to chime in on a USB webcam. I never owned one nor needed one on my computer till Covid and then it was crucial. I picked up a USB webcam for use. It was easy to install and set up.


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#8
Channeal

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Phill, thanks so much for your help with this. Without you, I would have bought something totally wrong for me, for sure! Your assistance is much appreciated.

I somehow had a feeling that the Acer wouldn't turn out to be any good.

Sorry about the Argos link. I normally check links, but this time was being called away by my husband.

Thanks for the Amazon link, but it says it is no longer available. I will search for that computer later to see if it is available anywhere else.

123Runner thank you very much for the info about webcams. Is there anything particular I should look out for when buying one? I guess webcam manufacturers and vendors must be one of the very few to benefit from the virus!

Thanks again to you both.

Chris.

EDIT Oops sorry Phill, was it the Dell you were talking about?
It says 'renewed'. Does that mean refurbished? And though it says Windows 10 at the top, in the info below it says Windows 7.

Edited by Channeal, 12 November 2020 - 02:55 PM.

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#9
123Runner

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I ordered a High resolution HD 720P webcam. It had a built in driver and installed with no issues. I had actually ordered another model and it got lost. The one I have is sharp and clear. Of course quality also depends on your internet speed. I had to order because no one had any in stock due to covid and in ordering it still took about 2 weeks to get.

Make sure it has the audio and sound (voice) in the USB and not separate. I did run across a bunch of them that had USB for video and a plug separate for audio.


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#10
Channeal

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Thanks very much 123Runner. I had heard that it was hard to get hold of webcams at the start of covid. I wonder what it is like now. I should probably get myself a new computer before thinking about that though!

My laptop is still okay for Zoom at the moment, though that is old too. We'd feel completely cut off from the outside world without any computer at all.

Chris.
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#11
phillpower2

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No not the Dell, please see the attachment below;

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Chris desktop.jpg

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#12
Channeal

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Hi Phill,

That's strange timing! Just as the notification of the email for your post arrived, I was looking at this computer! Yesterday, it definitely showed on my phone as being no longer available, but now they have 3 available.

When searching, I had discounted gaming computers as I thought they would not be suitable for my needs. I asumed they were only for absolute gaming fanatics!

1 am currently searching to see if I can find more info on this model such as number of USB ports and where they are situated.

Thanks,

Chris.
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#13
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

Strange in deed  :headscratch:

 

OCHW are based in Birmingham, contact details from Amazon here should you wish to check the full specs and availability with them.


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#14
Channeal

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Hello Phill,

I sent a message to the manufacturers a couple of days ago, but haven't yet received an answer - though I am not 100% certain how I would access their reply. Might try again if I don't hear tomorrow.

Haven't been feeling too well the past couple of days do haven't done any more searching. My quest will resume when I feel better.

Chris.
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#15
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

Sorry to hear that you are under the weather and wish you a speedy recovery.

 

Not able to comment about you not hearing back from them as I am not in the know, you could when you feel up to it ask your question/s at Have a question? here


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